How To Safely Dispose of Used Sharps at Home

What are the different types of household sharps and related medical waste items?

  • Syringes
  • Needles
  • Lancets
  • Pen Needles

Why should I treat my sharps any differently than other trash?

Managing sharps safely protects family members, friends, sanitation workers and anyone else who may be exposed to this waste from accidental needle sticking.

What should I do with the used sharps in my house?

b) Choose to contain your used sharps/needles for future disposal
b) Destroy your needles immediately after use

Note: Never place any loose used needles directly into your garbage cans!

Steps to take When choosing to contain your used sharps/needles for later disposal

  • Place all used needles into a thick plastic container with a screw on top, or use an approved sharps and biohazardous waste container
  • Make sure that any container being used for needle disposal is clearly labeled as such
  • Do not store or dispose of any used sharps in soda cans, cans without screw tops, or any container which can break open.
  • All sharps placed into a container should be put in with the needle first.
  • Ensure that the disposal container is kept out of the reach of any children.

Steps to take when choosing to destroy your needles right after using them:

  • Use a proper needle destruction device. This is a tool which either incinerates or cuts your used needles.
  • A needle incinerator uses high heat to melt any used needles and
    reduces them to small metal balls. The remaining syringe can then simply be disposed of in the garbage since it poses no health danger.
  • A needle cutter automatically stores the cut needles and is a simple and effective device to ensure safe disposal.
  • How can I dispose of my sharps safely?

  • Take used syringes to a medical facility (doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy) that accepts used syringes. Ask your
    medical provider for more information. Be sure to follow all instructions given including what type of container you
    need to use. DO NOT bring used needles and syringes to a facility that does not accept them.
  • Mail your used syringes to a syringe mail-back program such as:

  • Follow all requirements for packaging and mailing as provided by the company you choose.

  • Exchange your used syringes for clean syringes through an exchange program.

    Follow all requirements for storage as provided by the program you choose.

  • Place used sharps that are stored in a hard plastic bottle into the trash once the bottle is a
    little over half-full.
  • Be sure the bottle is labeled “Do Not Recycle. Household Sharps”
  • Ensure the top is screwed tightly on, and secure it with tape.
  • Never place containers of used sharps into the recycling.
  • Resources on How To Safely Dispose Your Sharps

    Best Way to Get Rid of Used Needles and Other Sharps

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    Best Way to Get Rid of Used Needles and Other Sharps